After seven years in the footwear industry, I recognized that footwear designers need a “Trend Ambassador” - someone who can contextualize trends and encourage their application within the product creation process. I am raising my hand. And here’s why. Trends can unify multiple functions and spark newness. Properly considering emerging trends in fashion, streetwear, colour, textile and material can inform a footwear designer as much as a salesperson or merchandizer.
Footwear Designer // Understanding the Bigger Picture
Crafting that journey starts by gaining expertise in both trend analysis and footwear design. Shortly after beginning my footwear design career in the States, I moved to Europe. An enthusiasm for learning and ninja organization skills were my toolbox essentials in those first years. These enabled me to create footwear creative directions for multiple UK and European accounts simultaneously, while establishing our new design team near Amsterdam. I took on new footwear design challenges by spearheading European regional creation from a design perspective.
Trend Analyst // Engaging Team Members + Communicating Information
Being a successful trend analyst starts with people, accelerates through technology and ends with product. To share information on seasonal fashion trends between regional and global teams, I set up and managed several digital share platforms. But it’s not enough to have an online presence. Leading weekly meetings on trends with the European footwear creation team and calls to individual global footwear design directors ensured conversations advanced product directions.
Extraordinary places with insightful characters accompany the trend analyst’s investigation. Traveling to over 15 major European and UK cities specifically for trend and consumer research stirred valuable interactions with everyone from London fashionistas to Amsterdam storeowners and sneakerhead influencers.
Getting people to listen, now that’s the challenge. Technologies and audience expectation change faster than the weather these days. So I began watching YouTube clips on video editing and reading books upon books on copywriting to deliver trend content in fresh ways for audience satisfaction. Not only did it work, but this inspired others to do the same.
Music and Culture Journalism // Reaching Creative Source
Emerging concepts start from the raw creative mind only accessible from real world exploration. My personal journalistic endeavors teem with such insights and firsthand experiences. As a music journalist for GLAMCULT, I interview dozens of musicians including The Garden, Shura and Years & Years to understand their inspiration and process. I also set up collaborative design publications such as TREFF Magazine and volunteered at cultural events like UNSEEN Photo Fair. But don’t be surprised if our conversation changes from seasonal trends or music journalism to cold weather sailing, freediving or international travel. Being a footwear designer and trend analyst is not an office job. It’s a colourful collection of life experiences necessary for a “Trend Ambassador”.